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The Courts

Journal: Monster Cables pushes around the wrong 'small' company 1

Journal by Alien54
Audioholics has a fun read regarding a recent legal snafu by Monster Cables. As they report it:"Not long ago we reported that Monster Cable had issued a cease and desist letter to Blue Jeans Cable about their Tartan cables. Little did the lawyer drones over at Monster know that Kurt Denke, the president of Blue Jeans was, in a former life, a lawyer by trade. Oops! Someone pushed around the wrong "small" company! While we are no legal experts, we recognize humor when we see it. And this is funny. With Blue Jeans Cable's permission, we've included their full response to Monster's letter below. Kurt wants to keep this entire process completely open to the public and we're more than happy to oblige. Enjoy"
User Journal

Journal: The Wetware Crisis: the Dead Sea effect in the IT workplace

Journal by Alien54
An old hand writes about the current state of affairs in hiring in IT

Many large IT shops -- and not a few small ones -- work like the Dead Sea. New hires are brought in as management deems it necessary. Their qualifications (talent, education, professionalism, experience, skills -- TEPES) will tend to vary quite a bit, depending upon current needs, employee departure, the personnel budget, and the general hiring ability of those doing the hiring. All things being equal, the general competency of the IT department should have roughly the same distribution as the incoming hires. Instead, what happens is that the more talented and effective IT engineers are the ones most likely to leave -- to evaporate, if you will. They are the ones least likely to put up with the frequent stupidities and workplace problems that plague large organizations; they are also the ones most likely to have other opportunities that they can readily move to. What tends to remain behind is the 'residue' -- the least talented and effective IT engineers.

User Journal

Journal: The Hardware Needed to Model a Human Brain

Journal by Alien54
From Page 6 of an interesting 9 page article entitled "Out of the Blue":

the model is so successful that its biggest restrictions are now technological. "We have already shown that the model can scale up," Markram says. "What is holding us back now are the computers." The numbers speak for themselves. Markram estimates that in order to accurately simulate the trillion synapses in the human brain, you'd need to be able to process about 500 petabytes of data (peta being a million billion, or 10 to the fifteenth power). That's about 200 times more information than is stored on all of Google's servers. (Given current technology, a machine capable of such power would be the size of several football fields.) Energy consumption is another huge problem. The human brain requires about 25 watts of electricity to operate. Markram estimates that simulating the brain on a supercomputer with existing microchips would generate an annual electrical bill of about $3 billion . But if computing speeds continue to develop at their current exponential pace, and energy efficiency improves, Markram believes that he'll be able to model a complete human brain on a single machine in ten years or less.

The Internet

Journal: YouTube hijacked by Pakistan, causing global outage. 1

Journal by Alien54
The telecom company that carries most of Pakistan's traffic, PCCW, has found it necessary to shut Pakistan off from the Internet while they filter out the malicious routes that a Pakistani ISP, PieNet, announced earlier today. Evidently PieNet took this step to enforce a decree from the Pakistani government that ISP's must block access to YouTube because it was a source of blasphemous content. YouTube has announced more granular routes so that at least in the US they supercede the routes announced by PieNet. The rest of the world is still struggling.
Microsoft

Journal: A PC designed to be worn around your neck

Journal by Alien54
A PC designed to be worn around your neck, design by Microsoft. With all of the movie cliches this feeds into, what could possibly go wrong?

Using the new light-weight Microsoft operating system, SLIM, this PC travels with you effortlessly. The projected touch-gesture interface allows you to interact with your software wherever you are without requiring interface peripherals but its wide-coverage 700 MHz WiFi wireless allows both connection to the web and to performance enhancing peripherals.

Microsoft

Journal: 'Vista Capable' lawsuit against Microsoft now a class action

Journal by Alien54
In a blow to Microsoft Corp., a federal judge granted class-action status to a lawsuit late Friday alleging that Microsoft unjustly enriched itself by promoting PCs as "Windows Vista Capable" even when they could only run a bare-bones version of the operating system, called "Vista Home Basic." During an earlier hearing internal Microsoft e-mails were quoted that appeared to show that employees within Microsoft had misgivings about the "Windows Vista Capable" campaign.
The Internet

Journal: Ch-Ch-Chatting with the IT manager at the South Pole 1

Journal by Alien54
Have you ever thought about working at a place where the main worry is keeping the equipment from getting too cold? An excellent detailed interview with the IT manager of the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. Getting service is a little tough. They try to maintain at least a year's worth of spare parts. Along with an interesting set of photos
User Journal

Journal: Site Generator Monitoring in a Small Package 2

Journal by Alien54
There is no feeling like walking into the office @ 6AM on a Monday only to find out that you have a utility failure and your IT site generator has been running all weekend and will likely run out of fuel before you can get a truck there to re-fill. Servers will go down and heads will roll. This would be known as a Bad Thing(tm) Fortunately there is a solution. The GS5000 is a tiny gadget that will let you know via cellular that your site generator is running, has fuel, has moved from its designated location, and a whole lot more.
Google

Journal: Google's Secret 10GbE Switch

Journal by Alien54
It is the opinion of Nyquist Capital that Google has designed and deployed home-grown 10GbE switches as part of a secret internal initiative that was launched when it realized commercial options couldn't meet the cost and power consumption targets required for their data centers. This decision by Google, while small in terms of units purchased, is enormous in terms of the disruptive impact it should have on 10GbE switching equipment providers and their component supply chains. It is as if a MACHO just arrived in the Enterprise networking business and the orbits of the existing satellites have begun to shift without observers knowing why - until now.
It's funny.  Laugh.

Journal: Zogby/463 Internet Attitudes Poll

Journal by Alien54
It won't make you dinner or rub your feet, but nearly one in four Americans say that the Internet can serve as a substitute for a significant other for some period of time, according to a new poll released today by 463 Communications and Zogby International. The Zogby/463 Internet Attitudes poll examined views of what role the Internet plays in people's lives and whether government should play a greater role in regulating it. The online survey was conducted Oct. 4-8, 2007, included 9,743 adult respondents nationwide, and carries a margin of error of +/- 1.0 percentage point. The full survey included detailed demographic information and is available at 463.blogs.com
User Journal

Journal: 'Mythbusters' to Test Cockroach Radiation Myth

Journal by Alien54
After a nuclear holocaust, would cockroaches really be the last creatures standing? That's a question for the same people who've tested whether you can jump in a falling elevator to save yourself, whether throwing a toaster into a bathtub really will electrocute someone and whether dropping a penny from a skyscraper is lethal. The Discovery Channel's Mythbusters are at the Hanford nuclear reservation this week to get to the bottom of the nuclear survival myth. The experiment required 200 cockroaches from a scientific supply company. Fifty will get no radiation so they can be used as a control group. Another 50 will be exposed to 1,000 rad of radiation, the exposure that's lethal to humans. It gets worse from there for the bugs. The next 50 will be exposed to 10,000 rad and the final to 100,000 rad. The show is expected to air in about 4 months.
User Journal

Journal: Congressional Hearing on Troubled 'Troubled Teen' Camps

Journal by Alien54
First, we have this press release from a Statistics Watchdog Group in advance of a hearing held on Capitol Hill. You have to know that when the statisticians are after you, you have really screwed up. Then we have the congressional press release from the House Education and Labor Committee, complete with direct links (PDF warning) to the report and to transcripts of the testimony of several witnesses (1, 2, 3), from the hearing held this week. This is all about a new government report just released that found thousands of allegations of child abuse at private residential treatment programs between 1990 and 2007. Many were horrific. The report also examined in detail ten cases (from many more) of child abuse and neglect that resulted in death between 1990 and 2004. Of course, for those of us who remember (start from the beginning) the Slashdot series Voices from the HellMouth, we have to ask "who are the kids in these camps?"(via)
User Journal

Journal: 'We don't do open source because there's no one to sue' 1

Journal by Alien54
Linux is carrying a detailed article regarding the security debate raging in corporations about using Open Source. One interesting quote: "We don't do open source because my lawyer says there's no one to sue," says Phil Maier, vice president of information security at Inovant, Visa's technology deployment division. "The lawyers had the final say." Maybe Shakespeare was right after all ....
Space

Journal: Global Rent a Scope

Journal by Alien54
Internet Astronomy has taken off in a big way. Highlighted by shows like the recent PBS special, Seeing in the Dark, digital imaging and the internet have combined to make many more resources available for the amateur astronomer than were possible even just a few years ago. Now we even have sites like Global-Rent-a-Scope, which let you control a network of research grade telescopes over the Internet with your web browser. This permits amateurs to perform real research, and make important contributions in a number of fields.

"Out of register space (ugh)" -- vi

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